“Casey Schillinge is a vivacious young woman on the verge of making her mark on the world. While backpacking, she is struck down by a tropical disease and suffers cardiac failure. But at the eleventh hour, Casey receives a life-saving heart transplant – and a rare second chance to begin again.
Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare.” Every once in a while a really great book comes along and totally sweeps me away. The Recipient is very definitely one of those books and in fact, about a quarter of the way through the book, I even took to Twitter, asking why I had never read one of Dean Mayes’ books before!
The story opens with a heartfelt first chapter – a young woman is bedridden, her caring father in agony over her condition. Then, a phone call – one that will change all their lives in ways nobody could imagine.
One would have thought that this life-saving operation would be the end of three years of pain and fear but after receiving her new heart, Casey is severely agoraphobic and plagued by awful nightmares which affect her so badly that she resorts to the use of drugs and tries her damndest not to sleep while pushing herself physically past the point that anyone with a heart transplant should go.
No longer the carefree young woman and loving daughter she used to be, she prefers to stay within the confines of her apartment, immersing herself in working both sides of the cyber-fence while distancing herself from her parents – a mother who she sees as trying to control her life and a father who constantly worries about her solitary existence and the fact that she only ventures out for her usual doctors’ appointments or a stroll on her favourite beach.
As the nightmares become more pronounced and her sanity slinks towards the edge, she starts to wonder if there is more to them and finally seeks assistance from her psychiatrist. Their discovery and Casey’s suspicions gradually lead her to take up her own investigation which has horrific consequences as she risks her life trying to uncover the truth behind a cold case – what they discover, is both chilling and thrilling!
We’ve all read stories in the newspapers – “I was given a young man’s heart and started craving beer”; “Memory transference in organ transplant recipients”; “Heart transplant patient gets craving for food eaten by organ donor”; “Man given heart of suicide victim marries donor’s widow and then kills himself in exactly the same way” (and the list goes on) – so, when I was invited to read and review this novel I just knew it was a book that I wanted to read because cellular memory in organ recipients is a notion that has long intrigued me. I’m so glad that I ventured into this one because Dean’s writing doesn’t disappoint as he presents his story to the reader in a cinematic quality that brings Casey, her life and her surroundings to vivid life – and her dreams into reality.
Putting his own medical training as a Registered Nurse to good use, Dean starts off strong and the strength of the entire narrative doesn’t waiver as he wraps you up in a compelling intensity that doesn’t let up until the final chapters. It’s the kind of book that you can’t put down, even when you want to go to sleep – if you are able to that is!
Casey’s nightmares are absolutely terrifying and delivered to the reader in such a way that a number of times I found myself holding my breath. Her fears and experiences, too, are well-delivered, as is the rocky relationship that exists between her and her mother, Edie; the emotional connection with her father, Peter; the loving rapport she has with Pa; and her easy friendship with Sasquatch (who I really would have loved to see more of).
As Dean takes you on an adrenaline-fuelled ride that twists to a kicker of a climax, ultimately uncovering a tale of human horror that is all too real, he will keep you guessing throughout as you try and figure out just who the good guys and the bad guys are. A word of warning – trust no-one as you race towards the very satisfying conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller!
With a highly original and well-developed plot, Dean has crafted a superior page turner which fans of the thriller genre will enjoy. And, if you think that cellular memory is merely an urban legend, think again because Dean is going to change forever the way natural-born skeptics look at this theory.
Dean Mayes has established himself as an author of great passion and literary style since the publication of his debut novel The Hambledown Dream in 2010 and has since gone on to grow his following even more with his follow up novel Gifts of the Peramangk (released in October 2012) – all while holding down a very busy day job involving a stethoscope.
The Recipient is scheduled for an international release on the 1st May 2016.
Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and his two children and writes regularly for a loyal following at his blog, Dean from Australia.
Central Avenue Publishing are giving away a copy of The Recipient (US: Print Copy, Intl: Digital Copy), a $25 Amazon Gift Card as well as a donation in the winner’s name to Amnesty International. This giveaway is open internationally and all you need to do is follow this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway (which will take you to the Rafflecopter page), so go ahead and enter now! EXTRAS
For an exclusive extract from The Recipient, go to Dean’s website, here.
The Recipient can be pre-ordered today from the following links: